vRA-Lab-01-How to Configure Baseline for vRealize Automation

What is VMware vRealize Appliance?

The vRealize Appliance is a preconfigured virtual appliance that deploys the vRealize Automation server. The vRealize Automation is delivered as an open virtualization format (OVF) template. The system administrator deploys the virtual appliance to the existing virtualized infrastructure. Before start configuration of vRealize Automation environment. You should know what are the prerequisites or necessary thing which you should configure?

  1. Active Directory (For LDAP and Centralized user Management)
  2. DNS Server (Name Resolution)
  3. DHCP (For Dynamic IP Allocation (Optional))
  4. One Windows2008/2012 Server for vRealize IaaS Component.
  5. One vCenter with Cluster (HA/DRS) in ESXI host/Hosts Configured with VMware Best Practices.
  6. VM Template for vRealize Blueprints.
  7. VM with Snapshot (In Case of Linked Clone blueprint)

1-Active Directory (For LDAP and Centralized user Management)

It is always a good practice to have at least one active directory configured in your environment for Centralized user management even for lab. In my lab, I already installed one in Windows Server 2012 R2. I will not show you, how to install and configure an active directory on Server 2012. it’s very simple process. You just install an Active Directory ADS role in Windows 2012 R2 and follow the wizard instructions. Once your active directory has installed. Open the “Active Directory User and Computer” Console from “Tools” in Server Manager or run “dsa.msc” on command prompt. vRASeries-01-Baseline-01

In my vRealize Automation Lab, I will create only one tenants for demonstration purpose. For that tenants, I will use Active Directory as a LDAP identity source along with tenants User management. To configure your Active Directory for vRealize Automation tenants. Right Click on the AD “vmexpo.local” root as showed in above screen shot and Choose “Organization Unit”, type the name “VMExpo” to create a separate container for my vRealize tenant Users. vRASeries-01-Baseline-02

Once your Tenants OU has created.  Create some users/groups for your vRealize tenants. Which we will use later in vRealize Automation Configuration. In my Lab, I have created following are list of users/groups.

Sr #  Name Type Description
1 vmexpo-iadmin User VMExpo (Tenant) Infrastructure Administrator.
2 vmexpo-fadmin User VMExpo (Tenant) Fabric Administrator.
3 vmexpo-tadmin User VMExpo (Tenant) Tenants Administrator.
4 vmexpo-support User VMExpo (Tenant) Support User.
5 vmexpo-user1 User VMExpo (Tenant) End User 1.
6 vmexpo-user2 User VMExpo (Tenant) End User 2.
7 vmexpo-admins Security Group VMExpo (Tenant) group Contain all Admin Users 
8 vmexpo-users Security Group VMExpo (Tenant) group Contain all Users 
9 Iaas-srv User Service Account for IaaS

I am not going to show you, how to create user and group in active directory, it’s pretty straight forward process.  Once I created all the above users and groups. My active directory structure will look like as shown below. vRASeries-01-Baseline-03

NOTE: Use the Same process for other tenants, create separate OUs and users/groups structure.

2-DNS Server (Name Resolution)

DNS is very important part of infrastructure. If you have Active directory in your environment. Then there will be DNS Server as well. Mostly, when you install the AD, setup wizard will ask for DNS Server installation as well. In my LAB, I did the DNS installation along with Active Directory. Open the DNS Console for Configuration using “Server Manager -> Tools -> DNS” vRASeries-01-Baseline-04

DNS Installation wizard automatically create a “forward DNS Zone” against your Active directory as shown below vRASeries-01-Baseline-05

Next create a “reverse DNS Zone” for your Domain by “Right Click” on the “Reverse Look Zones” and follow the Wizard Instruction

vRASeries-01-Baseline-06

Next create “DNS Records (Entries)” for you vRealize Servers. Following are the list of DNS Entries for my Lab. you should create according to your needs.

Sr #  Entry name IP Address Description
1 esxi01 192.168.10.101 ESXI 1 for Resource Group Cluster
2 esxi02 192.168.10.102 ESXI 1 for Resource Group Cluster
3 esxi03 192.168.10.103 ESXI 1 for Resource Group Cluster
4 esxi04 192.168.10.104 ESXI 1 for Resource Group Cluster
5 vc01 192.168.10.60 vCenter-1  for Resource Group Cluster
6 vmexpo-ad 192.168.10.100 Active Directory for LAB
7 vr-ia 192.168.10.111 vRealize Automation Identity Appliance
8 vr-vcac 192.168.10.112 vRealize Automation (formally Known as vCAC) Appliance
9 vr-iaas 192.168.10.113 vRealize Automation IaaS component Installation Server

NOTE: Resource Group (RG) is the Cluster or Compute Resources. Which, I will use for my vRealize Automation Lab.         Once, I have configured all my DNS entries. Here is the final screen shot of my “forward lookup zone” DNS Settings. vRASeries-01-Baseline-07

Here is the final screen shot of my “Reverse lookup zone” DNS Settings. vRASeries-01-Baseline-08

3-DHCP (For Dynamic IP Allocation) – Optional

This components is optional but it’s good to have one in the lab. I already installed once at my Active Directory Server.  Once you have installed the “DHCP Role” in your environment. Open the DHCP Console for Configuration using “Server Manager -> Tools -> DHCP”. By default there is no DHCP Scope available. You should create one for your environment, I have created one “IPV4” scope with name “192.168.10.0-50” as shown below. Which will allocate dynamic IP Addresses for my lab Server between IP Range “192.168.10.10-50 (51 IPs). Next configure any “Reservation” and “Scope options” for your environment. I don’t have any, so I skip that part.

vRASeries-01-Baseline-09

I have created a “Allow Filter” with MAC Address range 005056* ( these are vCenter VMs MAC). In other words my DHCP will restrict to entertain only IP Allocation for vCenter only. Its Optional step. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. vRASeries-01-Baseline-10

4-One Windows2008/2012 Server for vRealize IaaS Component.

I already created one VM for “vR-IaaS” Components with Windows 2012 R2 as default configurations and join to the domain. Following is the summary of my VM Configuration.

vRASeries-01-Baseline-11

5-One vCenter with Cluster (HA/DRS) in ESXI host/Hosts Configured with VMware Best Practices.

I have vCenter for vRealize Automation Resources with name “vc01” and in it a HA/DRS Cluster named “RG-Cluster” with default configuration except HA is configured with “Percentage based admission control policy”. Each ESXi host in the cluster has identical configurations with “5 vmnics” configured in hybrid Environment (vSS and vDS) and “2 ISCSI, 1 NFS” Shared Datastores.

NOTE: Vmnic0 (for mgmt.), vmnic1 (for External), vmnic2 (for internal), vmnic3 (vMotion), vmnic4 (IP-Storage) vRASeries-01-Baseline-12

6-VM Template for vRealize Blueprints.

I have created and installed a “CentOS 6.4 (64bit)” Virtual Machine with minimum configuration and installed the VM Tools along with other customization for vRealize Automation blueprints. Once everything is configure power off the machine and convert it into VM template.

NOTE: it is generally good practice to remove the static “IP Address” (if any) and use “Thin Provision Storage for Template VM.

vRASeries-01-Baseline-13

7-VM with Snapshot (In Case of Linked Clone blueprint)

I will use the same “CentsOS” Virtual machine for Linked Clone as well. But there is only one difference at the time, when I will use this VM for linked clone. I will create at least one snapshot in VM and also convert it back to VM from template.

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